Saturday, January 13, 2007

Feline stoicism

Let it be known that in the last two weeks, the Alpha Cat has passed at least four large kidney stones, by Pretty Lady's reckoning.

We have it down to a routine. The Alpha Cat makes his distress known, through both vocalization and gesture; Pretty Lady provides succour and discipline in equal measure. With much regretful sympathy, the Alpha Cat is quarantined in the bathroom, along with the Cat Hospital Basket and a towel.

The Alpha Cat retires dutifully to the basket until he passes a blood clot into the towel. Then he is released from quarantine, has lunch, and sleeps off the agony on the couch, while Pretty Lady mops the bathroom.

Let it be known that throughout these deeply distressing experiences, the Alpha Cat's manners, dignity and sweetness of character proceed unwavering. Once his plight has been acknowledged, he does not whine; he expresses appreciation and affection for services rendered, even in the extremis of bleeding through the urethra.

More than one of Pretty Lady's hypochondriacal ex-boyfriends could learn a thing or two, from such a shining example of stoicism and grace.


Anonymous said...

I wish I was your cat, in more ways then one I think, and in the nicest meaning ways. I either don't recognize I have a problem, prefer to be alone in it when I do see it, or sometimes become that baby when past lady friends have insisted on nannying much to their eventual regret (which I hate, but it's addictive).

As is, I am suffering from what may be a severly hurt, possibly broken foot. As sometimes happens, I did something in and because of those stupid dreams we've discussed, and while sleeping somehow hurt my foot. Anyway, at the moment, I am grumbling and avoiding contact. And I hate when doctors want to play with it to see how bad it really hurts. Maybe by Monday I can walk again.

If your cat writes a book on how to suffer with dignity, let me know.

Pretty Lady said...

Doom, are you telling me that you have such bad nightmares that you actually broke your foot in your sleep because of them?!!

Good heavens. I would seriously suggest a hypnotherapist, no joke, and I do not say these sorts of things lightly. Issue remain in your body until you deal with them, and whatever this issue is, it is literally crippling you.

Meanwhile, as far as the foot is concerned--rest, ice, compression, elevation, and regular doses of ibuprofen.

If it's any comfort, I have a self-crippling ankle, and these things are what keep me mobile.

Anonymous said...

Doom--Personally, I recommend Trazedone. I haven't punched through the sheetrock by my bed in my sleep since I went on it. But then I'm practically a pharm rep, so take that as you will.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady,
I've tried hypno, for other things but related, before. I have a very nasty reaction to them. Not immediately, or in them, I will go through later true rages. The rest of the advice is helpful, thanks:) Oh, and yes, in my sleep whether in the dream or not this time I can't know but I suspect. I don't remember them most often anymore, but I have pulled lots of muscles all over my body before in dreams for sure, it's down to a few times a month now. And I only occassionally get hurt.


I will look into that. But I have trouble with sleep as is. Anything that unbalances that... I have been trying to find a high blood pressure pill that doesn't cause near stupor (which I already have problems with) for three years, if you can understand. I was in engineering school until this blood pressure debacle, if halftime.

Pretty Lady said...

Do you ever get massage or other bodywork, Doom?

Anonymous said...

I have tried massages. Once a week for about 6 montsh (sometimes I would skip a week since I didn't feel the "need"). It's weird with massages though. I can take punches from 2 to 3 normal guys without feeling too much, even the day after, but typical massages hurt. My masseus had to go light, very light, oddly (started half hour, got up to hour sessions). Sometimes I think one of those close calls wasn't close at all and I am in purgatory or something (given more or less weight depending on the day! *laughs*) I just don't understand this life. Anyway, the massages didn't really end up having any great benefits, so I stopped going.

Pretty Lady said...

It sounds like you have been quite thorough in trying different options. From my perspective, it sounds like you have some seriously bad memories circulating in your body-mind continuum, or whatever you'd like to call it, and also some vulnerabilities in your psychic shields. I hope you take very good care of yourself--eat healthy, exercise, stay away from toxic people and situations.

I encourage you to keep trying different types of healing therapy, paying close attention to what you experience, and what sort of therapies and therapists work best for you. There are a few good healers out there, a lot of mediocre ones, and a whole lot of talentless quacks who push their agendas on vulnerable people, so it can take a long time to find what works for you.

But I firmly believe that we are never handed a challenge we can't handle, and I am confident that you are up for it.

Also, you can almost never go wrong with basic hatha yoga practice, as long as you don't pull muscles from over-stretching. :-)

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady,

Thank you for that advice, I might have to look into hatha yoga, any advice on where to start (whether at a club, via dvd, etc)? I am overweight, but my corpse is in incredibly good shape for having been mothballed for 20 years. The mind isn't too bad either, really. I am trying diligently to solve the difficulties. I have found myself at the Catholic Church, not so much for healing as for a spiritual home as my house is my physical home.

I will find my way even if the search is the whole way, though I think it isn't. At least I can find peace, be kind, open, and giving to most, and have no real wants or needs. The 100% disability from the Navy is quite generous, added with SSD. Yes, the Navy played it's own part in my situation, though I think not all of it.

Pretty Lady said...

If you decide to try yoga, go to a studio rather than a DVD or a gym, and start with the most basic level of hatha. It's the sort of thing where you need a good teacher to help you in person with your alignment; also, the presence of other people in the room is part of the experience. I don't believe that isolation is good for people, and gym environments can be disagreeable and chaotic.

Yoga helps both your physical body and your mind by gently and slowly undoing physical and energetic 'blocks' which manifest as pain, tightness, rigidity, and negative emotions such as anger and sadness. On a physical level it brings more blood flow to each cell of your whole body, nourishing it and carrying away toxins. On a psychological and spiritual level it helps create inner peace, balance, understanding and clarity of will and action.

Some psychiatrists have discovered that post-traumatic stress syndrome can be helped by coaching the client through the memory of the trauma, while simultaneously stimulating simple eye movements. Something about this process helps the person move through the memory, which is stuck on a repeat loop, and into a place of peace beyond it. The clients report that afterward, it is though the traumatic event happened to someone else. This technique is called EMDR (Eye Movement something something...).

I believe that yoga practice works this way also. Since you mentioned having rage attacks after hypnotherapy, it strikes me that there is so much traumatic stuff lodged in your memory and your body that any sort of therapy triggers more trauma than you're able to process. A very slow, peaceful yoga practice might help you unlock and release some of this trauma in a gradual way.

Crom said...

"More than one of Pretty Lady's hypochondriacal ex-boyfriends..."

Have you considered that they may have pursued you - besides the myriad of obvious reasons, of course - is because of your healing capability? People who need help are drawn to those who would heal, and some of them may not have been above manipulating your emotions to receive care that they did not pay for.

I believe a certain distance must be maintained between caregiver and patient. There must be a certain level of respect for the authority of the healer. If there is not, the relationship will not be successful, and the patient will not improve.

There are a number of people with a clandestine agenda, the ones who intentionally try to receive free help by manipulating the healer through the offer of love and/or sex. I would draw the comparison to someone who purposely seeks out a lawyer to date because they know they have upcoming legal trouble. These types of people are skilled manipulators and are difficult to avoid, although this behavior is consistent enough to identify if the target has maintained the required level of objectivity. If the patient is successful at receiving love or sex from the healer, the dynamic changes, as the two people are now on an equal footing, with expectations from their partner. This is antithetical to the doctor/patient relationship, since the healer is no longer in the dominant position.

I do not know if the Eastern methodologies that you practice would agree with my summation, I would be interested to know if there is an opposing school of thought to my contention.

Pretty Lady said...

I would be interested to know if there is an opposing school of thought to my contention.

Nope. Your summary is pretty much the conclusions I have come to after years of practical experience. It was a wonderful thing, the day I realized that people could come to me and tell me their troubles, I could do something to help, and then they'd PAY ME AND GO AWAY, instead of hanging around, being my 'friends' and draining me dry.

Of course, I have played my own part in being drawn toward people in obvious or not-so-obvious need of healing, and using my skills in an attempt to cement the relationship. I have learned my lesson about doing that, hopefully, and am now actively on my guard about repeating past mistakes.

So you will be happy to know that I instantly fled from the last fellow I met who complemented me on my looks, intelligence and charisma, and then informed me that he happened to be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Fled. Instantly. Didn't even have to think about it. ;-)

Pretty Lady said...

There are a number of people with a clandestine agenda, the ones who intentionally try to receive free help by manipulating the healer

And in case you are interested, the technical term for this is 'oral personality' (not to be confused with the Freudian term) and I have become adept at recognizing it within ten minutes of meeting the person, usually because these people suck so much energy from their surroundings that I start getting the shivers, even on hot days.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady,

I did not even realize you were a healer! Interesting, though I apologize if it seemed that I was trying for free goods or anything.

It all started with dreams, and well... My apologies, sincerely.

Pretty Lady said...

Good heavens, Doom, you have NOTHING AT ALL to apologize for. I have not had the shivers during any of our conversations. ;-)

And since I like you, and I like these conversations, and since such things come naturally to me, you can see how I end up in so many distressing situations. It's my Nature. Entirely my fault. And I hope you will consider the yoga, and not consider that my 'advice' is anything other than mutually interesting conversation.

k said...

I'm so very sorry about your cat. Poor thing! And yet, that cat has both great character, and superb instinct, brains, and luck, in choosing its human.

I think can all learn something important from that one.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady,

Good, had me worried for a bit. I probably shouldn't say as much as I do, I just usually don't worry. Nor am I into pity or such, I don't need it to be honest. I'll go back to thinking it was just what I had been thinking then.


As I said, if the cat writes a book, I'll be in line to buy it.

Pretty Lady said...

Well, I'll broach the notion to him, but he is generally quite reserved about his philosophies. A cat of action, rather than word.

And k, the luck was ALL on my side, I am afraid.

Anonymous said...


I certainly was not referring to you with my comments - I apologize if you took it that way. I did not think that you were attempting to manipulate PL, although now re-reading the post and it's placement in the comment stack I can see how you might think that.

My ideas on this topic come from my experience with a good friend of mine who went insane. I tried to help her, and found out some of these things first hand as she tried to manipulate me into a situation where she could compromise me. She failed in that, and her attempts to hold on to the remainder of her sanity were heartbreaking to see.

The contents of my post were derived from that experience, not anything you wrote to Pretty Lady.


belledame222 said...

poor Alpha Cat. :(

Anonymous said...

I don't believe it...a cat showing appreciation?

Anonymous said...


Thank you. Though I was certainly not laying blame or even sure of any wrong anywhere, I only noticed patterns that could be construed as suspicious, and then only on my part. I was clearing the baffles. Sometimes it feels like I'm living in a vacuum, so checking with those around me just seems to make sense.

Desert Cat said...

I would suggest that perhaps you don't know cats very well.

Re that "EMDR", I've not seen it described precisely that way, but there is a somewhat similar practice, called "recapitulation" by Carlos Castaneda, that I have used to positive benefit myself. Instead of eye motion, it involved the whole head in motion and also involved controlled breathing, while deeply recalling the scenario in question--drawing back lost energy and expelling negative energy that was taken in at the time. Quite effective if practiced diligently. In his world there were other purposes for the practice, but the practical effect was what I was after.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady,

I have found three yoga studios which claim to teach, train, or otherwise impart the practicals of hot yoga and hatha yoga seems to equal hot yoga. In any case, they are the only three yoga facilities listed. I will find out about my foot tommorow, and should be able to speak with the master or instructor or whatnot to see if they could or would facilitate a man of my particulars in advance of my foots recouperation. I hope it isn't too expensive, I'll just have to see (oh, I know, money is a temporal thing, a device of the wicked, etc., however, one must eat). I had already purchased a swim pass to be doing something more physical. And, in some odd turn of fate, I had already been planning to purchase a pair of Earth boots. I needed a new set of footwear and they 'seemed right' (that is actually what dogma means, give or take).

desert cat,

I would be interested in hearing more about your experience with EMDR and perhaps the reasons for it, as you might be so inclined. I will leave my email in case it is very long or more private, should you even desire to discuss.

Pretty Lady said...

Doom, 'hot yoga' usually refers to Bikram yoga, which is different from hatha. It's a specific sequence of twenty-two poses, performed in a sauna-temperature room. It can be very good for detoxing, stimulating weight loss and toning all your body systems, but it can also be a bit gruelling, particularly for a first-timer. I find it a little choppy and repetitive after awhile. I personally prefer vinyasa (which is a more rigorous, flowing form of hatha) but obviously you'll have to make do with what you can find in your area.

Usually hot yoga studios will have introductory specials, where you get unlimited classes for a flat fee for a week or so, so you can check it out.

And if you don't mind my saying so, your choice of email addresses seems to be an example of 'negative reinforcement,' there. ;-)

Desert Cat said...

Doom, Like I noted I'm not sure what EMDR is, but Recapitulation sounds very similar. As for the reasons for it, that could require reams. Carlos Castaneda first introduced the concept in The Eagle's Gift, and I would direct you there to gain an in depth understanding of what it is about. (Unfortunately you may find yourself drawn to reading the other ten books he authored as well, to gain further insight. My final judgement regarding Castaneda is that he was a genius/charlatan. As a system it fails, because much of it is simply flat-out unnecessary to a Christian. However there is much wheat amidst the chaff.)

If you google 'castaneda recapitulation' you will find quite a store of information as well.

The reader's digest version is this: Every interaction you have with other human beings has an impact on your perceptions, whether great or small. It is this relentless socialization that locks us into specific patterns of thinking about things, whether such patterns are beneficial or detrimental. The point of recapitulation is to examine every significant encounter one has had throughout one's life, and to take away it's power to influence one's perception.

There's no doubt that's a monumental task. But a task worthy of a warrior.

The specifics of the breathing and the motions can be found elsewhere, but the ultra-condensed technique is to bring to recollection the specific encounter, to return fully in a sense to the moment, to re-experience the encounter in such an intense, but controlled way that the influence of the person involved is dissipated, expelled from one's "energy body", and the energy that one expended or released during the encounter is recaptured. The effect is to detach one from the encounter, to make one in effect a bystander to the encounter, rather than one profoundly influenced by it. Castaneda believed that to do this with every encounter of one's life would ultimately (after years of practice) result in a "substitute" body of experience, detached from one's self, while one's true self would then be utterly free.

Fears, anxieties, rages, unexplained self-destructive behavior, etc. etc. should, in theory, yield to this technique. Despite my very limited employ of this technique, I've found it tremendously valuable in releasing a number of crippling emotional patterns.

One example, I fell madly in love with a young lady just out of high school and it ended poorly. I was utterly crushed and carried this pain for years. Through recapitulation I was able to obtain a very significant degree of release and detachment.

Some years later she appeared again under very serendipitous circumstances, and the encounter was very healing. Yet if I had not gone through the process, it would not have been a healing reunion as it was, but rather a reopening of decades-old fatal wounds. Interestingly I can say today that I love her still, yet without even the slightest hint of pain that once consumed me, nor any wish for that love to be anything but a warmth like the sun--an open hand, an open heart, and complete freedom.

Anonymous said...

Being a major cat lover, my sympathies are with Alpha. And having seen human males pass a kidney stone, I know first hand that they count that as THE most painful experience of their lives. To which any female who's given birth will sniff indignantly "Sure, it's hard to pass a huge thing through a tiny tube. But the ration of stone to urethea is nothing as compared to baby to vagina!!! Butch up baby!"

But please Pretty Lady, you may want to consider taking Alpah to a vet if he's having a lot of this problem. BECAUSE calcification in a cat's urine is NOT good and can kill them. I had to switch a male cat to special food (Science Diet brand) for life, because he had turned yellow (a white cat) from uremic poisoning due to the "sawdust" and such things that were causing his urine to be full of crystals. You might want to check this out...For Alpha cat's sake.....

Pretty Lady said...

Oh, fear not, Terrymum, he's already ON the special food. The most expensive prescription anti-urine-crystal stuff that's on the market.

You see, this problem is not a new one in our household, and a major portion of my seemingly ineradicable credit card debt was accumulated in taking cats to vets, getting drugs, tests, X-rays and the like. The vet visits never helped at all and the cats got better on their own.

I did research on the Internet regarding these bladder crystals, and the Internet vets all say, 'We don't know what causes this, we don't know what works, try this diet and it will help. Maybe.'

So the cats are on the special diet and they get quarantined when they start peeing on things. The only way I'm going back to a vet is if the cat's urinary tract is obviously completely blocked, which is the only time vet intervention does any good.

I am openly envious of my friend in Mexico; when his cats get old and ill, they just stop coming home. Much simpler, if sadly abrupt.